Julie Schenecker is standing trial for the murders of two teenage children. Florida attorney’s for Schenecker are planning an insanity defense.
Schenecker, a military wife in Tampa, is accused of killing her two teenagers will face the jury as they are expected to see many disturbing images and hear hours of troubling evidence.
They will see several sides to Julie Schenecker, a former military linguist who prosecutors say fatally shot her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.
They will see a colonel’s wife and attentive suburban mom, cheering from the sidelines as her kids played soccer. They will also see a woman who bought a gun the weekend before the killings — and who complained in a letter that a three-day waiting period would “delay the massacre.” They will see the handcuffed inmate, escorted by officers, who walked rigidly into jail following her arrest, her face contorted and eyes empty.
Jurors will have to decide which side of Schenecker, 53, is closest to the truth: an upper middle-class soccer mom who killed her children after planning the shootings for at least several days, or a woman who struggled with profound mental illness for decades and didn’t know what she was doing. Her attorneys are planning an insanity defense.
Schenecker goes on trial this week, charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Jury selection was scheduled to start Monday.
Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, but if convicted, Schenecker could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. If Schenecker is found not guilty by reason of insanity, the judge could still order her committed to a mental hospital until it is determined she is no longer a danger to others or herself.
According to Tampa Police, Schenecker shot her 13-year-old son, Beau, as she drove him to soccer practice. The report said Schenecker then drove to their upscale home and shot her 16-year-old daughter, Calyx.
After Schenecker sent her mother a disturbing email, officers went to the house and found her drenched in blood on her back porch. They then found the teens’ bodies, a scene that was so troubling that a stress team was called to counsel them.
Julie Schenecker was born in Muscatine, Iowa. There, she was an athlete and that continued in college, where she played volleyball for the University of Northern Iowa.
Schenecker eventually joined the Army, advancing to the rank of sergeant as a Russian linguist. While she was stationed in Munich, Germany, she met and married Parker Schenecker in the late 1980s. She left the service a few years later.